For one day the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox put aside their legendary hostilities to honor the game’s greatest closer, Mariano Rivera. However it wasn’t a complete tribute to the sure-fire Hall of Famer because Boston was quick to bring up the 2004 ALCS. That was the postseason where the perfect Mariano wasn’t perfect for one critical inning. If you recall Boston avoided a sweep in Game 4 by scoring the tying run in the 9th inning off the always dependable Rivera and eventually winning in the 12th inning. The win propelled the Red Sox from sweep and enabled them to become the first team in MLB history to lose the first three games and win the next four to win a seven-game series.
The Red Sox showed video of the iconic Boston comeback including having Kevin Millar reminisce about his at-bat where he walked on four straight balls from Rivera. The free pass allowed for the memorable steak if second base by pinch-runner Dave Roberts against Rivera. Then the hit that rallied the Red Sox to four straight wins, Bill Mueller’s single up the middle, which scored Roberts. The Red Sox continued to “honor” Rivera by showing a video of Boston’s 2005 Opening Day ring-ceremony. A painting of that moment was one of the gifts presented to Rivera by David Ortiz.
When Boston was eventually finished celebrating the 2004 Red Sox World Championship they presented the great Mariano with some very thoughtful and generous gifts including a donation to Mariano Rivera’s charitable causes in his native Panama. Sox closer Koji Uehara presented him with the bullpen rubber, while Dustin Pedroia gave him the No. 42 placard, a piece of the scoreboard with his number on it signed by all the players and Jon Lester gave him a 1934 blue seat from Fenway,
As Rivera exited he was serenaded with his anthem “Enter Sandman” played by the Boston Cello Quartet. The Yankees weren’t very inspired by the Rivera tribute because they went out and got dismantled by the Red Sox by the score of 9-2, allowing Boston to sweep the series and put major doubt in their postseason dreams for 2013.
Rivera repaid the Boston faithful by taking some time between innings to talk with fans in the Fenway Park bleachers and signing autographs. The sure-fire Hall of Famer left his mark in the visitor’s dugout at Fenway by writing:
Last to wear #42
Thank you for everything